News from the Middle East often makes one wonder about the origins of the numerous conflicts, wars, and crises that erupt in the region. A comprehensive analysis of Middle Eastern affairs hinges on the ability to simultaneously engage with developments in its regional politics (state and non-state actors), foreign policy, society, and culture. Most importantly, as a melting pot of different cultures, nationalities, and worldviews, it is critical not to reduce the Middle East and North Africa to homogenous geopolitical, cultural, national, or religious entities. This workshop intends to provide participants with some key tools to assess the regional affairs of the Middle East and to better understand the nuances of various perspectives on Middle Eastern affairs.

Who can participate? Students,Researchers, Academics, Journalists, and Analysts can benefit from the workshop as it gives a holistic understanding of the region. People who generally are interested in the region can also register as it provides some basic understanding of the region and its intricacies. Moreover, the agenda of the workshop delves into an inter-disciplinary methodological approach intending to make the whole exercise more participatory in nature. Participants may choose to register for one workshop session, or all workshop sessions. We will cap at 25 individuals per each session.

Speakers :

Matthew Ryan Sparks:

Matthew Ryan Sparks is a 2nd Year PhD. Student in Middle East Studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva, Israel. He received his M.A. in Global, International and Comparative
History from Georgetown University, and a two B.A.’s in History and
Religion & Philosophy from Catawba College. A lifelong storyteller,
Matthew is a published author, oral historian, and professional
editor with four years of experience.

His interests include the oral/life histories and folklore of nomadic
and subaltern populations (especially ethnobotany) in his native
Central Appalachia as well as the Middle East and North Africa. He
is the co-founder of Sparks & McNeill, where he works as an editor,
consultant, and workshop organizer.

Leen Barghouti :

Leen Barghouti is a Palestinian-German researcher,
Middle East and North Africa expert and activist. She holds a Masters from Georgetown University in Conflict
Resolution. She has previously worked with the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon. She currently works in
communications at a Syrian feminist NGO.

Nadeem Ahmed Moonakal:

Nadeem Ahmed Moonakal is a Dr. TMA Pai fellow and Doctoral candidate at the Department of Geopolitics and
International Relations, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), India. He received his MA in Geopolitics and International Relations from the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, MAHE, India. His doctoral research includes identity complexities and security dynamics of the Middle East. He often
writes on regional affairs of South Asia and has been associated with multiple projects with different think tanks in the Middle East. He also writes on the evolving power dynamics in the Islamic world.
He is a former South Asia and Middle East analyst at Jane’s and a
former researcher at Centre for Arab West Understanding, Cairo
where his research looked at the evolution of Egypt’s foreign policy
in consonance with the regional dynamics of the Middle East.

Key Takeaways: · Acquire a holistic and diverse perspective on the regional affairs of the Middle East · Understand different perspectives on persisting conflicts and crises · Understand political, strategic and cultural elements of bilateral relations of major powers in the region · Equip with necessary tools to write on Middle Eastern Affairs · Engage with a wide and diverse set of people from different walks of life.